Unite: AWL backs McCluskey – critically

January 14, 2017 at 8:06 pm (AWL, Unite the union)

 AWL statement on the Unite General Secretary election:

We should vote for Len McCluskey in the Unite general secretary election for which nominations open on 16 January because it is a first-past-the-post poll, and without left-wing votes going to McCluskey there is a real risk Gerard Coyne will win.

Coyne is heavily backed by the Labour right wing around Tom Watson and Progress. If he wins, he will swing Unite decisively to the anti-Corbyn camp. That could close down all the openings for Labour revival opened by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership victories.

Vote Coyne, and get Watson and Progress: that’s the deal.

In the 2013 general secretary election there was no right-wing candidate. In the 2010 poll the right-wing vote was split between two right-wing candidates. Their combined vote was only 16,000 less than the vote for McCluskey.

A good chunk of the 53,000 votes won in that ballot by Jerry Hicks will have been by no means tightly anchored to the left. Many members who voted Hicks because they saw him as closer to the old AEU strand in Unite, or because they backed his promise to boost the role of retired members, or because they liked his complaint about “the relationship with Labour being put ahead of members’ interests” (as Hicks put it), may be seduced by a well-crafted Coyne campaign.

Coyne probably has a better “machine” behind him than Bayliss or Cartmail did in 2010. The media will be much more aggressively anti-McCluskey than in previous elections (partly using ammunition which, it has to be said, McCluskey has manufactured for them.)

If there were no difference between McCluskey and Coyne, then we could dismiss the “splitting the left vote” argument. But there is a real difference.

We have many criticisms of McCluskey, including as regards his role in the Labour Party. But McCluskey is right about one thing: Unite’s backing for Corbyn “in 2015… was a decision of our elected lay Executive Council, and in 2016 of our 600-strong Policy Conference, by a vast majority… Gerard Coyne’s campaign is not being driven by concern for Unite and its members’ interests. It is being scripted by the failed plotters in the Parliamentary Labour Party… in their political project to bring back Blairism”.

****

The Unite Executive Council election:

The United Left (UL) has a slate of candidates that we support: a mixture of old and new candidates, some with years of experience on the Executive Council plus a new generation of candidates striving to serve for the first time. All of them are, as far as we can judge, effective lay activists from all regions, sectors and equalities strands who are Rule 6 compliant and determined to ensure UNITE remains strong and continues to grow stronger. We advocate voting for them.

Attached; full slate of UL candidates with branch and membership nos + unite4Len leaflet

For guidance nominating branches should pay special attention to the
following in the UNITE Ballot Guidelines:

NOMINATIONS

  •  Nominations can be made by branches and workplaces (where there is no
    workplace branch). Branches will be sent nomination forms. Forms for
    workplace reps will be available from Regional Secretaries and, for branches
    only, online. Nominations can only be made at a meeting properly convened
    for that purpose during the nominating period. All notices of meetings must
    be made available to the Returning Officer when nominations are submitted.
    Sample notices which can be used are included here for convenience, as an
    appendix.
  •  Branches need not give special notice of the meeting if their branch
    meeting details are up-to-date on the membership system. Otherwise at least
    seven days’ notice of the meeting must be given, and it must be clearly
    stated that EC nominations will be considered at the meeting. All workplaces
    must give such notice of their meetings. At least five members eligible to
    vote must be in attendance at Branch meetings, which may only nominate for
    national equalities seats, for the regional seats in the region in which the
    branch is located and for the sectoral seats(s) in sectors which the branch
    has at least five members. Workplaces may only nominate for the relevant
    sector seat and for national equality seats at least three members eligible
    to vote must be in attendance at the workplace meeting.

Follow and retweet @ULnational and @uniteforlen see http://www.unitedleft.org.uk for full details of the UL slate

2 Comments

  1. Andrew Coates said,

    Exactly, and well put.

    Like many of us I am quite loyal to McCluskey and back the broad strategy he and the UL stand for, though had reservations about some of the statements about freedom of movement in the EU.

    The only thing that did concern me was Momentum’s E-Mails and Tweets telling people to join UNITE so they could vote for McCluskey.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      The Unite sub paying members are oblivious to the factions vying for the post.

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